We sat down with Palm today and in addition to spotting that soft-touch cover we chatted them up on where things stand, how things are progressing, and various other clarifications about webOS and the Pre that have yet to be made. Palm's staying pretty tight-lipped and under-the-radar at the show, despite bringing a Europe-friendly HSDPA handset to show off -- they're not making any big announcements along those lines until there's a carrier firmed up, and not even clarifying what bands are supported. The build of webOS is exactly the same as what was at CES, and Palm still isn't letting the device slip out of its firm grip for a bit of rogue hands-on time.
Palm did confirm that games are in development for webOS, and seems a little defensive at accusations that the OS can't handle that stuff -- Palm hasn't changed its stance on app development, of course, there are no "native" apps allowed currently, but they seem more reticent to admit that web-style app development will limit gaming options. Perhaps they're hoping Adobe's Open Screen Project will save them some grief on this front, since Flash will be ready for webOS by the end of the year. Palm's currently working with a small amount of developers in private beta, refining the SDK to their feedback and needs, and will slowly expand that as the phone approaches launch, but we don't expect a full SDK to reach Joe the Coder until very close to before or after the launch. We asked about the potential for a soft keyboard, and they said that there's no reason that developers couldn't build their own -- though we're not sure how that would work. Out of the gate developers won't have super deep access to the OS from what we understand -- they wouldn't be able to do something like Facebook's level of OS-wide contacts integration, for instance -- but Palm hopes to open those APIs up further down the line.
We get the impression that Palm feels version 1.0 of webOS is very feature complete, and that the most surprises we'll get from here to launch will be mostly along the lines of 3rd party development and release details.